Updated: Feb 11, 2021
Do people know what to expect from you? You spend a great deal of time explaining expectations to them, but what about the other way around? Don't they have the right to know what to expect from you - How you will act, what you will or won't/do, what matters to you most?
I know, you probably are thinking that they should just pick this up. That through trial and error, they should know what you value, how you deliver bad news, or when you will stop and listen. The truth is some will and some won't. It shouldn't be that way, but it is. Therefore, it becomes our duty as their leader to clarify what they can hold us to. It is our job to let them know what we can be held accountable for.
There are lots of ways to do this, but I like to keep things simple. I believe if we just created a list of what we are willing to be committed to and shared this with those we lead, we can make great gains in what they can expect of us. We can clarify communication, strengthen a positive culture, and open up a better understanding between the two of us.
Like God created the 10 Commandments, you can create a list of 10 Commitments that describe your leadership style. These are things that you are willing to be held accountable for. They are your way of doing business. They help lead and guide your work. By expressing these commitments, you communicate to your staff what they can expect of you.
To do so, simply put yourself in their shoes. What would you want to know so that you understand your leader better? Brainstorm by writing down everything that comes to your mind. Then, once you think you've exhausted the possibilities, choose 10 that really represent who you are. These are things that you feel comfortable publicly expressing. You don't have to be perfect in these, but you need to be willing to be called out if you fail to meet them. Compile them into a list and then share these with your employees (best done in a meeting, compared to sending out an email).
When a police officer starts his service, or a senator in hers, or the president in his, they all take an oath. They make a public acclamation as to what we can and should expect from them. You can do the same, but instead of repeating some mixture of words that you didn't create, you can share commitments that come from your heart and are individualized to your style of leadership. It's like your 10 Commitments is your Leadership Oath of Office.
I've included an example list of 10 below. You can use these as they are, tweak and adjust them, or start from scratch and create your own.
Whatever you do, be sure to become more intentional in your communication of what your people can expect of you.
Best of luck!